In response to COVID-19, FRCOG offices are closed. Staff are working remotely. Email is likely the most efficient way to reach us. You can find our contact information on the Staff page under the About link below.

Building, plumbing and wiring inspectors are available for meetings by appointment only.

All meetings, workshops and forums are cancelled or have been changed to a call-in or video format.  Please look for emails from FRCOG staff about specific meetings or on our calendar at the Meetings and Events link below.

Business Development Resource Guide

Click to download:

Resources and Guidance for Businesses in response to COVID-19 as of October 28, 2020

Schedule of free Western Mass. small business webinars and recorded past webinars. Go to: https://bit.ly/WebinarsList2020

List of business resources (including grants and loans) for businesses in Hampden, Hampshire, Franklin, and Berkshire Counties. Go to: https://bit.ly/WMassBusinessResources.

 

OPEN Grant and Loan Programs

The Commonwealth of Massachusetts has launched two new programs to help businesses impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. The program will provide grants of up to $75,000 to eligible small businesses (businesses with 50 or fewer employees) and grants of up to $25,000 to eligible microenterprises (businesses with 5 or fewer employees) to fund certain activities.  The application round opens on October 22, 2020 and closes on November 12, 2020. For details, go to: https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/covid-19-response/covid-19-grants-massachusetts-small-businesses..

The City of Greenfield received a CDBG award to fund the Regional Micro-enterprise Assistance Program for businesses based in 23 Franklin County municipalities – Bernardston, Buckland, Charlemont, Colrain, Conway, Deerfield, Erving, Gill, Greenfield, Hawley, Heath, Leverett, Leyden, Montague, New Salem, Northfield, Orange, Shelburne, Shutesbury, Sunderland, Warwick, Wendell and Whately.  Eligible businesses with five or fewer employees who are income eligible and who can demonstrate a COVID loss, can apply for a forgivable loan of up to $10,000. There will be ongoing rounds until the funds are depleted. The program is administered by the Franklin County Community Development Corporation (CDC). Go to: https://www.fccdc.org/covid-recovery-micro-enterprise-assistance-program/

The COVID Recovery Micro-enterprise Assistance Program is a forgivable loan program for businesses with five or fewer employees located in Buckland, Greenfield, Montague, or Shelburne. The application round is open. The program is administered by the Franklin County CDC.  Go to: https://app.etapestry.com/onlineforms/FranklinCountyCommunityDevelo/MICROApplication-24.html

Franklin County Community Development Corporation offers loan financing, direct business technical assistance services, and expertise for food businesses. Go to: https://www.fccdc.org/covid-19-resources/

U.S. Small Business Administration’s Economic Injury Disaster Loan for eligible small business, non-profits and agricultural businesses. Go to: https://www.sba.gov/page/disaster-loan-applications

 

CLOSED Grant and Loan Rounds

Rural LISC is offering grants of up from $5,000 up to $20,000 to eligible small businesses in rural communities that facing financial pressure because of COVID-19. The current application round closed October 5, 2020. Go to: https://www.lisc.org/covid-19/small-business-assistance/rural-relief-small-business-grants/

The Community Foundation of Western Mass accepted applications for its latest grant round for eligible non-profit organizations impacted by COVID-19 through September 1, 2020. Click here for more information.

Round 2 of Town of Orange’s AGO Small Business Relief Partnership Grant program for small businesses based in Orange had applications due on August 9, 2020. Eligible, Orange-based businesses can be awarded a grant up to $2,500.

U.S. Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) closed on August 8, 2020. Massachusetts Growth Capital Corporation posted information about the federal PPP, at https://www.empoweringsmallbusiness.org/resources/covid-19-small-business-resources

The latest round of CISA’s Emergency Farm Fund had an application deadline of June 6, 2020. However, they continue to have a robust list of COVD-19 resources and information for farmers at https://www.buylocalfood.org/resources-for-farmers/tipsheets/covid-19-resources/.

 

Guidance and Reference materials for adapting to COVID-19 pandemic:

Patronicity’s Winter Places: A Design Guide for Winter Placemaking is a free design guide for communities and businesses to create outdoor spaces for commerce and public enjoyment, while being respective of social distancing and other mitigation measures.

BizWorks’ Resource Guide for Businesses offers a quick review of the Commonwealth’s various workforce and business development programs available, including support to avert layoffs, workforce training, workshare (which allows the company to reduce an employee’s hours while allowing the employee to collect some unemployment benefits). Go to: https://www.mass.gov/doc/masshire-bizworks-resource-guide/download

MassHire Franklin-Hampshire Career Center information for both job seekers/employees and for businesses/employers. Go to: https://www.masshirefhcareers.org/

Small businesses can access free online classes in Microsoft Excel, Microsoft Word, Quickbooks and WordPress for their employees through a program of Greenfield Community Colleges. Go to WorkforceTrainingFund.org to see if your business is eligible and then email non-credit@gcc.mass.edu for more information.

CISA’s COVID-19 resources for farmers. Go to https://www.buylocalfood.org/resources-for-farmers/tipsheets/covid-19-resources/

Created by Safe Supply, an outdoor grocery store in Somerville, the Safe Supply Field Guide is a step-by-step guide for supporting local food producers and providing a shopping alternative during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Go to: https://www.safesupplyfieldguide.org/

Guidance and resources from the Massachusetts Restaurant Association. Go to: https://www.themassrest.org/coronavirus-resources.html

MA Alcoholic Beverage Control Commission’s recent advisories on local approval of outdoor seating, guidelines for patio and outdoor areas, and more. Go to: https://www.mass.gov/lists/abcc-advisories#2020-advisories-

Franklin County Chamber of Commerce hosts a Facebook interview series at https://www.facebook.com/FranklinCountyChamberofCommerce/ and posts business information updates at https://franklincc.org/whats-new-at-the-chamber/273-covid-19-messag.

Small Business Strong is a partnership of banks, foundations and others set up to help women and minority-owned businesses in Massachusetts.  The website includes a list of resources, ranging from guidance on a variety of business issues to loans and grants available to businesses. Go to: https://www.smallbstrong.com/support-services/

Community design inspiration is found in Design for Distancing guide created by the City of Baltimore. Go to: https://www.designfordistancing.org/.

U.S. Department of Labor’s OSHA office offers guidance on preparing workplaces for COVID-19. Go to: https://www.osha.gov/SLTC/covid-19/

The international Business Owners and Managers Association (BOMA) offers on how to prepare buildings and tenants for addressing pandemic conditions. Go to: https://www.boma.org/coronavirus

Resources for Freelance Artists aggregates information about various resources available to artists and art organizations. Go to: https://www.freelanceartistresource.com/category/money/

As more funding becomes available, the Tipped & Service Workers Fund will release small emergency grants. Go to: https://ofwemergencyfund.org/

Community Action Pioneer Valley’s Look 4 Help page a wide variety information and resources for individuals and families – https://www.look4help.org/

 

FRCOG Publications

Pioneer Valley Businesses and Organization Survey as of April 3, 2020

Click here for the Findings Report on the Impact of COVID-19: Pioneer Valley Business and Organization Survey

Emergency Preparedness Resources for Businesses:

Whether it is a blizzard, flood, or a hazardous spill, business can’t always control what happens in the future. However, there are steps to be better prepared. And when you can respond and recover quickly, you can get back to business! Information on how businesses can be prepared for emergencies is available at  WesternMassReady.org and Ready.gov/Business, or download the Getting Back To Business brochure (PDF, 875KB).

Business Development Resources:

Looking to start a new business venture?  Or expand an existing business venture? Check out the 2018 Franklin County Business Development Resources Guide  (PDF 2.2mb) to find helpful information and links to organizations that provide technical assistance, training, financing and more!